living in the world…


Where we see sin, God sees pain;
and He wishes to heal us, refresh us, and free us.

Fr. Éamonn Bourke
from his book Make Your Home in Me: Reflections on Prayer

(quince blossom / 2017 /Julie Cook)

“I discovered later, and I’m still discovering right up to this moment,
that is it only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith.
By this-worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties,
problems, successes and failures.
In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God,
taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world.
That, I think, is faith.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Nightmares with Poe

Horror Poe-fection!!

Steve A. Wiggins

A review of Nightmares with the Bible recently appeared in which the reviewer said he didn’t get the Poe references. Indeed, the anonymous reviewer said the same thing. What neither of them understood is that Edgar Allan Poe has been formative for my life and that book was a tribute to him. Did Poe write about demons? Not really. Did he once claim that the death of a beautiful woman was the most poetic theme? Yes. I saw the opportunity, in discussing possession movies, to draw Poe’s observation into the conversation. Could the book have been written without it? Yes and no. Yes, I could’ve written a book on demons without mentioning Poe. No, I would likely not be writing books at all were it not for Poe.

Today is Poe’s birthday. What is this strange attraction I have for him? It began, as most things do for me, with…

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Musings From the Gospel of John – Number 49

Reasoned Cases For Christ

The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 18:12-24.

John 18:12-13 NASB reads as follows “So the Roman cohort, the commander, and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him, and brought Him to Annas first; for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.”

This was a significant number of Romans soldiers, (normally a Roman cohort would number about 600 men, but it could vary) including their Commander plus the officers of the Jews, arresting one individual. I can’t help but think that based on what they had seen and heard about Jesus, that there might have been an element of fear present on what Jesus might actually do.


Let that sink in for a minute. This is Jesus, who walked on water, calmed a storm, fed multitudes, healed many, and showed us of His and our…

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Exposition of Nahum Part 2: God has the power to Judge and Save

The Domain for Truth

Last installment: Part 1: Why God Judges Nations 
Exposition of Jonah How do you respond to God’s mercy

Nahum 1:3b-8

And the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. 4 In the gale and the storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet. 4 He rebukes the sea and dries it up; He dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither, The blossoms of Lebanon wither. 5 Mountains quake because of Him, And the hills come apart; Indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, The world and all the inhabitants in it.  6 Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath gushes forth like fire, And the rocks are broken up by Him. 7 The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him. 8 But with an overflowing flood He will make a…

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Lexham Discourse Greek N.T. Matt. 23:11-15 w/translation & Commentary

Matthew 23:11–15 (LDGNT)
11ὁ δὲ μείζων ὑμῶν ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος
12ὅστις δὲ ὑψώσει ἑαυτὸν ταπεινωθήσεται καὶ ὅστις ταπεινώσει ἑαυτὸν ὑψωθήσεται
13Οὐαὶ δὲ ὑμῖν γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί ὅτι κλείετε τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων ὑμεῖς γὰρ οὐκ εἰσέρχεσθε οὐδὲ τοὺς εἰσερχομένους ἀφίετε εἰσελθεῖν
15Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί ὅτι περιάγετε τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ τὴν ξηρὰν ποιῆσαι ἕνα προσήλυτον καὶ ὅταν γένηται ποιεῖτε αὐτὸν υἱὸν γεέννης διπλότερον ὑμῶν


Matthew 23:11–15 (LEB)
11And the greatest among you will be your servant.
12And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
13“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees—hypocrites!—because you shut the kingdom of heaven before people! For you do not enter, nor permit those wanting to go in to enter.
15“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees—hypocrites!—because you travel around the sea and the dry land to make one convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are!


New Dictionary of Biblical Theology

Mission in the intertestamental period

The traditional view has been that intertestamental Judaism engaged in mission (*cf. esp. D. Georgi, The Opponents of Paul in Second Corinthians; more recently L. H. Feldman, Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World). If so, the early church’s mission would have operated within the parameters already established by Judaism. However, if mission is defined as a conscious, deliberate, organized, and extensive effort to convert others to one’s religion by way of evangelization or proselytization, it is doubtful whether it was characteristic of intertestamental Judaism. For while the Jewish religion was doubtless successful in attracting converts or proselytes, the initiative in such instances usually lay with Gentiles who desired to join Judaism rather than in intentional Jewish missionary efforts (S. McKnight, A Light Among the Gentiles; M. Goodman, Mission and Conversion). Indeed, not all religious expansion is intentional (P. Bowers, in NovT 22, pp. 317–323).

The NT passage traditionally cited in support of the notion that intertestamental Judaism was a missionary religion is Matthew 23:15. There Jesus excoriates the Pharisees for ‘travel[ling] about on sea and land to make one proselyte’ and for then making that convert ‘twice as much a son of hell’ as themselves. But ‘travelling about on sea and land’ may denote extensive effort rather than geographical movement, and the term ‘proselyte’ does not necessarily pertain to non-Jews but may merely refer to a Jew converting to Pharisaism. And what Jesus condemns is in any case Pharisaic zeal in proselytization rather than Jewish mission as such.

Intertestamental Judaism should therefore not be regarded as a missionary religion. The operative paradigm was one of attraction rather than intentional outreach. While Jews did allow sympathizers and proselytes to participate in their religious practices to a certain extent, they were primarily preoccupied with national or sectarian concerns. The inclusion of Gentiles in the orbit of God’s salvation was not expected until the end times, as a special work of God, which prevented intertestamental Jews from active outreach to Gentiles. Moreover, the absence of the prophetic voice in intertestamental Judaism left the Jews without an authorizing mandate equivalent to the ‘Great Commission’ in the NT. The missions of Jesus and the early church thus did not merely build upon Jewish precedent but replaced the old paradigm of mission with a new mode of outreach.

Köstenberger, A. J. (2000). Mission. In T. D. Alexander & B. S. Rosner (Eds.), New dictionary of biblical theology (electronic ed., p. 665). InterVarsity Press.

Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

Heaven, Heavens, Heavenlies. “Heaven” is the created reality beyond earth. “The heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1) circumscribe the entire creation, or what we call the universe. God does not need heaven in which to exist. He is self-existent and infinite. Place is an accommodation of God to his finite creatures. God transcends not only earth, but heaven as well.

“Heaven” designates two interrelated and broad concepts—the physical reality beyond the earth and the spiritual reality in which God dwells. Frequently, the word “heaven” appears in the plural. The nearly exclusive word for heaven in the Old Testament, šāmayɩ̂m, is an intensive plural more literally translated “heights” or “high places.” Jehovah is, therefore, “God most High” (Gen. 14:18–20; Ps. 18:13). Of the 284 occurrences of its New Testament counterpart, ouranos (lit. “that which is raised up”), about one-third are plural.

The Physical Heavens. The ancient distinguished between two domains of the physical heaven perceivable by the senses. The immediate heaven is the surrounding atmosphere in which the “birds of heaven” fly (1 Kings 21:24). The phenomena of weather occur in the atmospheric heaven, including rain (Deut. 11:11; Acts 14:17), snow (Isa. 55:10), dew (Dan. 4:23), frost (Job 38:29), wind (Ps. 135:7), clouds (Ps. 147:8), thunder (1 Sam. 2:10), and hail (Job 38:22). Beyond the atmospheric heaven is the celestial heaven, also called the “expanse” or “firmament” (Gen. 1:8). It includes the heavenly lights—stars having “fixed patterns” (Jer. 33:25; Nah. 3:16), and the sun and moon (Gen. 1:14–16). The fixed character of the celestial heaven has evoked figures of speech to describe it. For example, it has windows (2 Kings 7:2), a foundation (2 Sam. 22:8), a gate (Gen. 28:17), ends (Deut. 4:43), a remote part (Neh. 1:9), and is like a curtain (Isa. 40:22).

God employs the atmospheric and celestial heavens in his self-revelation to human beings. First, the heavens witness that a glorious God exists. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Ps. 19:1; Rom. 1:19–20). Moreover, the pattern of seasons, yielding life-sustaining food, witness to God before believers.

Second, heaven contains signs establishing God’s promises. The rainbow signifies that God will never destroy the world by a flood again (Gen. 9:12–16). The innumerable stars are an object lesson of the abundant way God will fulfill his covenant with Abraham (Gen. 22:17; Exod. 32:13; Deut. 1:10; 1 Chron. 27:23; Neh. 9:23).

Third, God displays miraculous signs in the heavens. Fire comes down from heaven, both to judge (Gen. 19:24; 1 Kings 18:38–39) and to indicate acceptance of a sacrifice (1 Chron. 21:26). God provided the Israelites with “bread from heaven” during their wilderness trek (Exod. 16:4). God stopped the sun’s movement (Josh. 10:12–13) and used a star to pinpoint the Messiah’s coming (Luke 2:9). He also spoke audibly from heaven on occasion (Gen. 21:17; 22:11, 15; Acts 11:9). Believers look for the return of Christ in the clouds of heaven (Mark 14:62; Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:16–17).

Fourth, the vastness and inaccessibility of heaven are visual reminders of God’s transcendence, God’s otherworldliness, however, is a spiritual, not a spacial, fact. When Solomon prayed at the dedication of the temple, he acknowledged, “the heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you” (1 Kings 8:27).
The Dwelling Place of God. Heaven most commonly refers to the dwelling-place of God. Heaven is where the glory of God is expressed in pristine clarity. The term “glory,” therefore, has popularly been used as a synonym for heaven (Rom. 8:18). Actually, God’s glory is above the heavens (Pss. 113:4; 148:13) because it is the sum total of his attributes that are expressed wherever he is present (Exod. 13:21–22; Ps. 108:5; 2 Cor. 3:7–18). In heaven there is a continual acknowledgment of God’s glory (Ps. 29:9). Various figurative expressions identify God’s heavenly abode such as “the highest heaven” (1 Kings 8:27), “the heavens” (Amos 9:6), and “his lofty palace in the heavens” (Amos 9:6). Paul speaks of being taken up into “the third heaven” (2 Cor. 12:2). Although he does not identify the first two, possible references to the atmospheric and celestial heavens are suggestive.

The Heavenly Perspective. God invites human beings to adopt his heavenly perspective. All blessings, whether natural or supernatural, are from God (James 1:17; see John 3:27), who is Creator and Sustainer of the universe (Rom. 11:36). Israel rightly regarded rain as a heavenly gift from God (Deut. 28:12). Likewise, drought was a sign of God’s displeasure (Deut. 28:23–24).

The extent to which earthly blessings evidence heavenly approval needs to be conditioned. Job, for example, suffered many things unrelated to his faith and obedience. In Job’s suffering, however, God was orchestrating his sovereign and just purposes from heaven (Job 41:11). Jesus taught that the span of life on earth is severely limited when considering heavenly blessing. When the godly suffer at the hands of the unrighteous, for example, rejoicing is commanded knowing that a great reward in heaven awaits (Matt. 5:12). Nevertheless, “Our Father who is in heaven” gives daily bread (Matt. 6:11) and “good gifts to those who ask him” (Matt. 7:11).

What of those who do not adopt a heavenly perspective? Ecclesiastes, with its theme the meaninglessness of life lived “under heaven” (i.e., from a purely earthly perspective), asks readers to consider that “God is in heaven and you are on the earth” (5:2). Jesus solemnly warned, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 7:21). (The phrase “kingdom of heaven,” found only in Matthew’s Gospel, is a circumlocution for the “kingdom of God” [see 19:23–24, where they are used interchangeably], owing to the Jews’ reticence to utter the holy name of God.) Also, Paul warns that partiality is forbidden even in the case of a master-to-slave relationship, because “both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him” (Eph. 6:9).

Those claiming a heavenly inheritance are required to bring the earthly and the heavenly into alignment. Jesus linked entrance into the kingdom of heaven to repentance (Matt. 4:17), humility (5:3; 18:1–4), witness (5:10, 16; 10:32; 16:19), obedience (5:19), righteousness (5:20), compassion (18:10, 14; 23:13) and stewardship (19:23). Proactively, believers store up treasures (6:20) by being prudent managers of the little and perishable on earth in order to insure the abundant and enduring in heaven (Luke 16:1–13). Either the earthly or heavenly value system will prevail. So, those who pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10) are obliged to live from a heavenly vantage point.

Christ and Heaven. The greatest witness on earth to heavenly glory is Jesus Christ (John 1:14, 18). As the temple was the dwelling-place of God in the midst of Israel, so in a greater way the Incarnate is the dwelling-place of God. The Son uniquely preexisted with the Father in glory (17:5), “come down from heaven” (6:38), was “the bread from heaven” (6:32; see 6:41, 50, 51, 58) entered into heaven (1 Peter 3:22), and ascended far above all the heavens (Eph. 4:10). Christ’s essential oneness with the Father is established in that the Old Testament notion that Jehovah “fills heaven and earth” (Jer. 23:24) is ascribed to Christ (Eph. 1:23; 4:10; Col. 1:16, 20).

The writer to the Hebrews details the person and work of Christ from a heavenly perspective. Although Creator of heavens and earth (1:10), the Son is now seated at the right hand of God’s throne in heaven (1:4), mediating for believers (4:14–16). Christ is to be worshiped because God exalted him “above the heavens” (7:26; see Phil. 2:9–11). His redemptive work is completely efficacious because, unlike the priests of the old economy who ministered in a copy of the heavenly temple, Christ alone was qualified to enter the presence of God in heaven (9:23–24). Believers now “have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus” (10:19).

The second coming is the terminus ad quem of Christ’s intercessory work in heaven (Acts 3:21). Believers await anxiously for Christ’s coming “from heaven” (1 Thess. 1:10; 4:16) at which time unbelievers will be judged (2 Thess. 1:7–8). John, looking forward to “that day,” said it was “heaven standing open” (Rev. 19:11). The figure of an opening heaven is employed at the revelation given to Ezekiel (1:1), the phenomena surrounding the Lord’s baptism (Mark 1:10), Stephen’s vision of Christ (Acts 7:56), and John’s vision of the apocalypse (Rev. 4:1).

But it is on account of Christ (John 1:51) and his work (Rev. 11:19; 15:5) that the opening of heaven is complete. It is fitting that all manner of celestial phenomena will accompany the opening of heaven. It was a frightful thing for Israel to have the heavens shut and the blessing of God’s physical provision withheld (Deut. 11:17; 2 Chron. 7:13; Luke 4:25). How much more terrible is it to be shut out of the kingdom of heaven where there is living water (Matt. 23:13; 25:10)?

The Spirit and Heaven. The giving of the Holy Spirit is directly tied to Jesus’ entrance into heaven (Acts 2:33). The Spirit was sent from heaven (1 Peter 1:12). He is the heavenly gift (Acts 2:38), a foretaste of the blessings of heaven (John 7:37–39). He is also a guarantee of believers’ future inheritance (Eph. 1:13–14). The writer of Hebrews indicates a relationship between “the heavenly gift,” the Holy Spirit, and the powers of the age to come (6:3–4). When Peter linked the Spirit’s coming with Joel 2:28–32 (Acts 2:17–21), he was saying that the eschatological hope of heaven was near. The “last days” had begun.

Believers and Heaven. Believers have a present and future heavenly status. Presently believers are citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20–21) with a heavenly calling (Heb. 3:1); their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). They groan to be clothed with a resurrection body, “a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Cor. 5:1). It will be a body like Christ’s. The restoration of the image of God in human beings—from earthly to heavenly—will be complete (1 Cor. 15:45–49). The eternal inheritance of future blessings promised by God is secure because it is “kept in heaven” (1 Peter 1:4), and because believers are joint-heirs with Christ who has already been glorified (Rom. 8:17).

The heavenly future all believers anticipate is the fulfillment of God’s purpose in creating the universe. It will include worship of the type revealed in the Book of Revelation (7:10; 11:16–18; 15:2–4). Worship will involve rehearsing God’s glorious acts (19:1–2). In addition to ascription of worth, worship will involve service—unspecified works done in obedience to God and for God (22:6). Believers are to offer this kind of service to God now (Rom. 12:1). In contrast to present suffering, God promises believers that they will reign with Christ in heavenly glory (2 Tim. 2:12; see Matt. 19:28; Rev. 20:4, 6). In heaven believers will have fellowship with God and with each other in a perfect environment (Heb. 12:22–23).

In the Heavenlies. Paul stresses the believer’s solidarity with Christ. Since a believer is “in Christ” and since Christ is in heaven, the believer is “in the heavenlies” (en tois epouraniois). Accordingly, God has blessed the believer “in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). This precise phrase occurs only five times in the New Testament, and only in Ephesians (1:3; 1:20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12). The believer’s heavenly blessings depend on Christ’s heavenly session (Eph. 1:20) and the spiritual union each believer shares “with Christ” (Eph. 2:6). God does not merely apply the ministry of Christ to believers. He sees believers with Christ wherever he is—and he is now in heaven. Believers are commanded to adopt an earthly lifestyle of dying to sin and living to righteousness (Rom. 6:4), and to set their minds on the heavenly reality that will soon be revealed in Christ (Col. 4:1–4). In other words, believers should live consistently with who, and where, they really are.

Paul indicates, however, that “the heavenlies” are also the realm of spiritual powers. Paul likely is referring to Satan and his demonic host, calling them “rulers,” “authorities,” and “spiritual forces” (Eph. 3:10; 6:12). Although their final defeat is sure (Eph. 1:19–23), believers are called upon to practice an eschatological lifestyle, equipped with heavenly weaponry wielded by those who are “strong in the Lord” (Eph. 6:10). The battles of life are won on earth with heavenly weapons, not earthly ones.

The Consummation. At the final consummation, God will make “new heavens and a new earth” (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; Rev. 22:1). It is “new” (kainos) in kind, not merely in time. One may wonder why a new heaven is necessary. One possibility is that the heavens (the plural is employed in Hag. 2:6; Heb. 12:6; see also Heb. 1:10; 2 Peter 3:7, 10, 12) have been affected by sin inasmuch as they are the place of the activity of evil angels and forces (Matt. 24:29; Eph. 6:12). The “new heavens and earth” follow the judgment of Satan (Rev. 20:7–10) and the Great White Throne judgment (20:11–15), both of which take place in heaven and will never be repeated. Also, the “new Jerusalem” that John saw “coming down out of heaven from God” (21:2, 10) is a new characteristic of heaven, perfectly suited to extend God’s glory (21:11).

The sharp distinction between heaven and earth will be removed when God makes all things new. The essential feature of the New Jerusalem is the intimate presence of God among his people (21:3; 22:4). Interestingly, there will be no temple, “for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (21:22). Its magnificence is only hinted at in figurative terms (21:11–22:5). Everything that is not consistent now with this picture of heaven will be done away with (21:4).

The Angels, Satan, and Heaven. “The host of heaven” can refer to the stars (Neh. 9:6; Isa. 24:21; 34:4; Matt. 24:29), but more frequently in Scripture it denotes angels (1 Kings 22:19; Luke 2:13). God warns against worshiping the celestial host (2 Kings 23:5; Jer. 19:13; Acts 7:42) as well as the angelic host (Col. 2:18). When referring to the angels the term carries a military connotation (Josh. 5:14–15; Dan. 4:35). God at times employs angels from heaven to do his bidding. They will be particularly active at Christ’s return (Matt. 24:31; 2 Thess. 1:7–8; Rev. 8:2–10:11). Who can say to what extent angels are active today on earth? The truth might be found in Jacob’s vision of a ladder extending from earth to heaven on which the angels of God ascended and descended (Gen. 28:12). Nevertheless, the dwelling-place of angels is heaven (Mark 12:25; 13:32; Luke 2:15), where they worship God (Matt. 8:10). The heavenly host rejoice when human beings repent (Luke 15:10; cf. 15:7).

Satan is a fallen angel who apparently had access to the presence of God in heavenly places (Job 1:6–7). If Revelation 12:7–12 looks back to the ministry of Christ, the “casting out” of Satan and his evil angels from heaven occurred when Christ entered heavenly glory (see Luke 10:17–20). Now Satan’s sphere is more limited. He is “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2) in the process of moving downward in successive stages until he is thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).


Bibliography. J. Gilmore, Probing Heaven: Key Questions in the Hereafter; K. Schilder, Heaven, What Is It?; C. R. Schoonhoven, The Wrath of Heaven; U. E. Simon, Heaven in the Christian Tradition; W. M. Smith, The Biblical Doctrine of Heaven; P. Toon, Heaven and Hell: A Biblical and Theological Overview; A. E. Travis, Where on Earth Is Heaven?

Mullen, B. A. (1996). Heaven, Heavens, Heavenlies. In Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology (electronic ed., pp. 332–335). Baker Book House.

Faithlife Verse of the Day Ecclesiastes 12:11 w/notes

Quote Image

Ecclesiastes 12:11 NET w/notes

12:11 The words of the sages are like prods,37

and the collected sayings are like firmly fixed nails;

they are given by one shepherd.

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37tn Or “goads”; NCV “sharp sticks used to guide animals.” For further information see M. A. Fishbane, Biblical Interpretation, 29–32.

NA28 Greek N.T. Mark 10:32-34 w/translation & Commentary

Mark 10:32–34 (NA28)
32Ἦσαν δὲ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἀναβαίνοντες εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα, καὶ ἦν προάγων αὐτοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς, καὶ ἐθαμβοῦντο, οἱ δὲ ἀκολουθοῦντες ἐφοβοῦντο. καὶ παραλαβὼν πάλιν τοὺς δώδεκα ἤρξατο αὐτοῖς λέγειν τὰ μέλλοντα αὐτῷ συμβαίνειν
33ὅτι ἰδοὺ ἀναβαίνομεν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα, καὶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδοθήσεται τοῖς ἀρχιερεῦσιν καὶ τοῖς γραμματεῦσιν, καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτὸν θανάτῳ καὶ παραδώσουσιν αὐτὸν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν
34καὶ ἐμπαίξουσιν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐμπτύσουσιν αὐτῷ καὶ μαστιγώσουσιν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν, καὶ μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας ἀναστήσεται.


Lexham English Bible


Old Testament Theology, Vol1.

Divine Surrender

“Surrender” or “deliver up” or “hand over” (paradidōmi) is a key verb in the Gospel story.31 Initially it expresses good news: everything has been handed over to Jesus by his Father (Mt 11:27). But it is the handing over of John that triggers the beginning of Jesus’ ministry (Mk 1:14). Jesus comes to see that his exercise of that ministry will eventually lead to his own being handed over to human beings for execution (Mk 9:31)—to his people’s own leaders, and by them to Gentiles (Mk 10:33; cf. Mk 14:18, 21). So he is handed over to the chief priests by Judas (Mk 14:10–11, 41–44), by them to Pilate (Mk 15:1, 10), and by Pilate to the executioners (Mk 15:15). The disciples are to expect that this will be the pattern of their own experience (Mk 13:9–12; cf. Acts 8:3; 12:4; 15:26; 22:4; 27:1; 28:17). They will achieve things for God by following Jesus actively, but they will also achieve things for God by letting events happen to them (cf. 2 Cor 4:11).

No one can evade a share in responsibility for Jesus’ death. Jesus himself does not refer to the people but to its leadership, the “elders, leading priests, and scholars” who form the community’s governing body, the Sanhedrin. But the Jerusalem crowd as a whole eventually wants Jesus killed and agrees with Pilate that it will bear responsibility for his death (Mt 27:25). Jesus’ disciples share in responsibility, too, betraying him and abandoning him. Ordinary foreigners, in the persons of the governor’s soldiers, indulge in quite unnecessary humiliation of him. The foreign governor himself lacks the courage to make the morally right decision or the skill to manipulate the crowd to make it for him. And/or more paradoxically, he fails to recognize that Jesus is a genuine threat to the empire, so that politically it would be quite the right decision to execute him—but this is not the reason he does so. And/or he fails to recognize that it would be better to keep him alive because a dead hero is more of a problem than a live hero, and/or because a resurrected hero is even more of a problem, and/or because acquittal might even suggest the empire’s submission to Jesus and mean it finds a new future for itself. In a way he does the right thing for the wrong reason and also the wrong thing for the wrong reason.

Jesus’ surrender or betrayal to human hands (Mk 9:31) suggests we should not make too much of whose hands crucify him (e.g., whether they are Jewish or Gentile). The clash between Jesus and his killers is not merely a clash with either the Jewish people or the Roman Empire. They stand for humanity. Everyone is guilty. It is as well that Jesus asks his Father to forgive them on the grounds that they do not know what they are doing (Lk 23:34). Peter later makes clear that such mercy extends to the people’s rulers as well as the people themselves: they had surrendered God’s servant, “rejected the holy and righteous one” and “killed the source of life,” but they had not recognized that this was what they were doing (Acts 3:13–17).
Peter also expresses the point thus: Jesus, “handed over by the fixed purpose and foreknowledge of God—you crucified and killed by means of lawless people” (Acts 2:23).

Jesus knew and God knew that the Jewish leaders would reject Jesus and that the nomikoi (law experts) would use the anomoi (lawless ones) to get rid of him. And God made that part of the plan, so that one could even speak of Jesus’ destiny as fixed before the world’s founding (1 Peter 1:20). Humanly speaking, Jesus’ rejection was designed to frustrate God’s purpose, but God had already seen how to make it part of the way whereby to bring about a renewing of Israel and a revelation to the world. The people act “in ignorance” in having Jesus killed, but this is God’s way of fulfilling the expectation announced through the prophets, that the Anointed would suffer (Acts 3:17–18). Foreign and Jewish leaders and ordinary people unite against Jesus “to do whatever your hand and plan had predetermined should happen” (Acts 4:27–28). “Not comprehending him, or the words of the prophets that are read every sabbath, they fulfilled them by condemning him” (Acts 13:27).

Each of Jesus’ statements about suffering ends with the declaration that he will be raised on the third day. There is no but introducing this last clause. The statements are not warnings followed by promises, negatives followed by positives. The whole sequence of events forms one coherent whole that Jesus initiates. At the same time, the declarations about suffering, death and resurrection are also linked by the passive nature of the experience Jesus expects. Events will begin with Jesus’ one initiative: he will go up to Jerusalem. There he will be surrendered, mocked, flogged, crucified, killed and raised. Although he initiates the sequence of events, he then surrenders control of them, overtly to human beings, but covertly to God. When he says “the Son of Man must undergo great suffering” (Mk 8:31) he indicates an awareness that this is the direction in which God’s will points. There are human agents of his surrender, but some allusions mention none, and given that he eventually asks why God has abandoned him, it seems that the hidden agent of his being handed over in, for example, Mark 9:31 is also God, who “did not spare his own son but delivered him up for us all” (Rom 8:32).

Goldingay, J. (2003). Old Testament Theology: Israel’s Gospel (Vol. 1, pp. 830–832). IVP Academic.

UBS Handbook Mark

Mark 10:32

Text Instead of hoi de ‘but those’ before akolothountes ‘(who) were following’ of most modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus and Kilpatrick have kai ‘and.’ Thus the meaning is changed to … ‘and following (they were afraid) ‘.

Exegesis There is general agreement that the subject of ‘they were going up to Jerusalem’ is ‘Jesus and his disciples’; that the subject of ‘they were amazed’ is ‘the disciples’; and that ‘but those (others who were following were afraid’ refers to people other than the disciples.

Most of the words of this verse have already been dealt with: for anabainō ‘go up’ cf. 1:10; proagō ‘precede,’ ‘go ahead’ cf. 6:45; thambeomai ‘be amazed’ cf. 1:27; akoloutheō ‘follow’ (here in a physical sense) cf. 1:18; phobeomai ‘be afraid’ cf. 4:41; paralambanō ‘take along,’ ‘take aside’ cf. 4:36; hoi dōdeka ‘the Twelve’ cf. 3:16.

ēsan de en tē hodō anabainontes eis Ierosoluma ‘they were on the road going up to Jerusalem’: it is probable (with RSV) that ēsan ‘they were’ is the main verb, and anabainontes ‘going up’ is an independent participle, modifying ‘they.’

en tē hodō (cf. 8:3, 27) ‘in the road,’ ‘on the journey.’

anabainontes eis Ierosoluma ‘going up to Jerusalem’ cf. ‘those who came down from Jerusalem’ in 3:22.

ta mellonta autō sumbainein ‘the things that were to happen to him.’

mellō (13:4) ‘about to be (or, happen) ‘, ‘coming,’ ‘future’: the verb denotes something in the future which is about to take place; often, however (as here), more than mere time is implied: there is the quality of “compulsion, necessity or certainty” (Abbott-Smith), so that the participial form to mellon does not mean simply the thing that will happen (in the future)’ but ‘something that must take place,’ ‘something that is bound to happen.’ Cf. Arndt & Gingrich 1.c.d: “an action that necessarily follows a divine decree, is destined, must, will certainly.”

sumbainō (only here in Mark) ‘happen,’ ‘come about.’

Translation Were on the road must often be rendered ‘traveling on the road:

They must be so translated as to identify Jesus and those with him, not the immediately preceding third person plural ‘the many’ of verse 31, or those who will receive the hundredfold. Accordingly, one may translate ‘Jesus and those with him were journeying along.’

Going up to is generally used of traveling to Jerusalem because of the greater height of Jerusalem relative to the surrounding region, especially Jericho (see verse 45). However, at this point they were not evidently in the ascent from the Jordan valley, for the episode described as near Jericho occurs later in the chapter.

Ahead of them may actually be ‘ahead of the rest’ in some languages, for Jesus is contrasted with the disciples and the following crowd.

They, as the subject of were amazed, may be translated as ‘the disciples,’ if a more specific subject is required.

For amazed see 1:22, 27.

Taking the twelve refers to ‘going aside with the twelve disciples’ or ‘leading aside the twelve disciples’ (cf. 3:14, 4:10).

Happen to him may in some languages be translated as active, from the perspective of the person undergoing the events, e.g. ‘what he would experience.’ In other languages what would happen to is best translated as ‘what men would do to.’

Mark 10:33

Exegesis This is the third prediction of the Passion (cf. 8:31, 9:31).

Most of the words of this verse have already been dealt with: for ho huios tou anthrōpou ‘the Son of man’ cf. 2:10; paradidōmi ‘deliver up’ cf. 1:14; hoi archiereis ‘the chief priests’ cf. 8:31, hoi grammateis ‘the scribes’ cf. 1:22.

katakrinousin (14:64, 16:16) ‘they will condemn.’

tois ethnesin (10:42, 11:17, 13:8, 10) ‘to the nations,’ i.e. ‘to the Gentiles.’ The modern equivalent of this word on the lips of the Jews would be “pagans,” “heathen.” All non-Jews were considered “pagan.” In this context the specific reference is to the Roman authorities.

Translation Saying may be translated as a coordinate or independent verb of speaking, e.g. ‘and he said.…’

Behold is not a command to look, but to pay attention.

For the Son of man see 2:10, and not especially the problems of a third person referent applicable to the speaker, hence translated in some instances as ‘I the Son of man.’

Will be delivered, as a passive, would normally be shifted to the active form in many languages, but this is made difficult by the fact that the one who delivered up Jesus was Judas, and Jesus does not make this known at this time. An equivalent form of expression can, however, usually be found, e.g. ‘the Son of man will come under the control of,’ ‘will come into the hands of,’ or ‘the chief priests … will get the Son of man in their hands.’

For chief priests see 2:26 and 8:31, and for scribes see 1:22.

Condemn him to death is translatable in some instances as ‘declare, You must die’ (or ‘be killed’), depending upon the normal way of speaking about the execution of criminals.

Deliver is ‘hand him over,’ to ‘turn him over to,’ or ‘lead him to.’

Gentiles is often rendered by transliteration, but this is not very satisfactory, since it conveys no meaning. A better, but not entirely adequate, alternative is to use the local equivalent of ‘foreigners,’ e.g. ‘the people of other lands’ (Amuzgo), ‘people of other towns’ (Tzeltal), ‘people of other languages’ (Mixtec), and ‘strange peoples’ (Navajo).

Mark 10:34

Exegesis empaixousin (15:20, 31) ‘they will ridicule,’ ‘they will make fun of,’ ‘they will mock.’

emptusousin (14:65, 15:19, cf. ptuō 7:33, 8:23) ‘they will spit on.’

mastigōsousin (only here in Mark; cf. mastix 3:10, 5:29, 34) ‘they will scourge,’ ‘they will flog’: here the verb refers to the whipping given those who were condemned to death (Latin verberatio)—cf. Arndt & Gingrich I.

The other words have already been dealt with: for apokteinō ‘kill’ cf. 3:4; meta treis hēmeras ‘after three days’ cf. 8:31; anastēnai ‘to rise (from the dead)’ cf. 8:31.

Translation They refers to the Gentiles.

In some languages the equivalent of and connecting a series of events is ‘then,’ e.g. ‘they will mock him; then they will spit on him; then they will.…’

In some parts of the world spitting is regarded as a symbol of blessing, e.g. among the Shilluk. In this instance one must translate so that the people will understand that spitting among the people of ancient Palestine had a different meaning, e.g. ‘spit on him to show they hate him’ (or ‘despise him’).

Bratcher, R. G., & Nida, E. A. (1993). A handbook on the Gospel of Mark (pp. 328–330). United Bible Societies.

Gobekli Tepe – Introduction – Dr. Mike Heiser, Dr. Judd Burton & Dr. Aaron Judkins

Dr. Michael S. Heiser talks with Dr. Judd Burton and Dr. Aaron Judkins about Gobekli Tepe in this part 1 of 6 episodes on the topic. What is Gobekli Tepe, where is it, and what is the significance of it? Get these answers and more in this episode. Discover more videos and topics like this at